In his final major breeze for the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park Jan. 27, San Antonio Stakes winner Giant Expectations went five furlongs on Santa Anita’s fast main track at 7:45 Friday morning in a bullet 58 seconds flat under exercise rider Pepi Aragon.

It was the fastest of 53 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:02.01.

“He went well,” said trainer Peter Eurton, who once again will have Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens aboard for the world’s richest race, to be decided at 1 1/8-miles. “I couldn’t be happier. We’ll know more as he goes along. We’re taking it one day at a time.”

Private clocker Gary Young was a tad more effusive, saying the New York-bred son of Frost Giant looked “terrific,” but added the caveat, “Whether he is good enough to win a $16 million race is the question.”

Among those Giant Expectations is expected to face in the Pegasus are likely Horse of the Year Gun Runner and Pacific Classic winner Collected, who ran one-two in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at a mile and a quarter.

Giant Expectations turned the tables on Collected, however, in the Grade II San Antonio Stakes Dec. 26, leading throughout under Stevens to post a 3 ¼-length victory, with Collected, the 3-10 favorite, third, a neck behind runner-up Accelerate.

Giant Expectations, Collected and West Coast, the latter pair trained by Bob Baffert, are due to ship on Wednesday, Jan. 24, for the Pegasus.



A racing rarity will occur at Santa Anita Saturday when an Ohio-bred horse runs in the Grade III, $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at about 6 ½ furlongs on the track’s unique downhill turf course.

It will mark only the second start on grass for Proper Discretion, a five-year-old Buckeye-bred mare trained by Phil D’Amato for Loooch Racing Stables, Inc.

            “I think she might like the hill,” D’Amato said of the daughter of Discreetly Mine, a distant 12th last out in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at seven furlongs on Del Mar’s main track.

“She’s got a lot of speed and her last work was very good. I think she’ll be out there in front and we’ll see how long she can last,

“She’s training like she deserves a shot in this kind of race.”

Noted that Ohio-breds seldom race in California, D’Amato said, “When the Ohio-bred program gets going, I expect she’ll be back there, but we’ll see if we can win a graded stakes here first.”

The Las Cienegas, race seven of nine: Coniah, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Bendable, Mike Smith, 5-2; Angel Allie, Evin Roman, 8-1; Princess Princess, Tyler Conner, 15-1; Miss Southern Miss, Drayden Van Dyke, 12-1; Anita Partner, Tyler Baze, 6-1; Proper Distinction, Flavien Prat, 10-1; Instant Reflex, Victor Espinoza, 8-1; and Beau Recall, Corey Nakatani, 7-2.



It might too late for Faversham to follow in the Triple Crown footsteps of his accomplished full brother, California Chrome–his late racing debut put a dash in those hopes–but the three-year-old ridgling who ran a promising second in his first start last Monday at Santa Anita could still have a bright future ahead of him.






The three-year-old California-bred chestnut son of Lucky Pulpit-Love the Chase trained by Art Sherman for husband and wife owners Perry and Denise Martin closed from eighth and last at nearly 9-1 in the race, beaten only a length and a quarter.

The six-furlong sprint for Cal-breds was captured by 11-10 favorite Violent Ridge, the second of three winners trained Monday by Hector Palma, who, like Sherman, is an octogenarian.

“I was very excited about his race,” said Sherman, who turns 81 on Feb. 17. (Palma will be 81 on the Fourth of July). “He made up so much ground, and I knew that going a route he’ll be a much better horse, but I needed to get him started, get him a little experience, because I’m kind of behind on him.

“All the good three-year-olds have already run and proven themselves, so we’ll see what happens. We’re kind of pointing for the Cal Cup, it looks like.”

That would be the $200,000 California Cup Derby at a mile and a sixteenth on Monday, Feb. 19, Presidents Day.

Named for a friend of Perry Martin, it remains to be seen whether Faversham will accomplish as much as his two-time Horse of the Year brother, although they do have similarities.

“They’ve got the same attitude,” Sherman said. “They’re kind of up front-type horses. He’s got a good mind, nothing bothers him. You could see that in the paddock. He’s just not as big and stout as Chrome was.”

Meanwhile, Sherman is eagerly awaiting California Chrome’s first crop next month. Chrome covered a full book of 145 mares at Taylor Made Farm Nicholasville, Ky., where he stands for $40,000.

“He has a bunch of foals that will be dropped in February, so it will be nice to see what they look like,” Sherman said.



California-breds will be in the spotlight at Santa Anita next Saturday, Jan. 27, with the 2018 edition of the California Cup and Sunshine Millions Day.

Four stakes restricted to California-bred or sired horses with total purses of $600,000 will be supported by an overnight card of allowance, maiden and claiming races with purses supercharged by the Cal-bred race fund.

The main event will be the $200,000 guaranteed Unusual Heat Turf Classic presented by City National Bank for four-year-olds and up at 1 1/18 miles.

The $150,000 guaranteed Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Sprint for fillies and mares, four and up will be run at about 6 ½ furlongs on the hillside course. The $150,000 guaranteed Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint for four-year-olds and up will be decided at six furlongs, and the $100,000 guaranteed California Cup Turf Sprint Stakes for three-year-olds will be run at about 6 ½ furlongs on the hillside course.

The card also includes the following races restricted to Cal-breds: a $70,000 first-condition allowance for four-year-olds and up at about 6 ½ furlongs on the hillside turf course; a $65,000 maiden special weight race for three-year-olds at a mile on turf; a $65,000 maiden special weight race for three-year-old fillies at 5 ½ furlongs; a $35,000 purse maiden claimer ($50,000 claiming price) for three-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs; and a $30,000 purse claimer ($16,000 claiming price) for four-year-olds and up.

Entries for the races close on Wednesday, Jan. 24.



Santa Anita’s newly implemented “Ship & Stay” program continued to gain momentum through this past Monday, as 29 “new” horses have accounted for 31 starts over 13 Winter Meet racing days.

With Drawing Away Stable and trainer Robert Falcone, Jr., registering the most recent “Ship & Stay” winner (Theycallhimthekid) this past Saturday, a total of $30,984 in bonuses has been paid to participating horsemen.

Funded solely by The Stronach Group, “Ship & Stay” provides on-going bonuses to individual owners and trainers who bring horses to Santa Anita from out of state. Bonuses are paid to those connections that originally bring these horses to California for their first three starts. These bonuses, which pay 20 percent of a horse’s first race winnings and 10 percent (or $1,000, whichever is greater) of second and third race purse monies, will be paid even if the horse is claimed.

Four “Ship & Stay” horses have won thus far, the most recent Falcone, Jr.’s Theycallhimthekid Jan. 13 ($18,000 winner’s share, resulting in a $3,600 bonus) and his Fair Regis (also owned by Drawing Away Stable) Jan. 11 ($12,000 winner’s pot and $2,400 bonus).





“The Ship and Stay program definitely helped entice us to come,” said Falcone, Jr., who currently has 14 horses and here came in December from New York. “Once you’re here, you realize how great everything is. This place has so much to offer and we’re planning to stay.”

In addition to Falcone, Jr., the two other “Ship & Stay” participants that have won races are trainer Enebish Ganbat and Mongolian Stable with Mongolian Shopper on Jan. 7 ($25,800 winner’s share, resulting in a $5,160 bonus) and owner/trainer David Jacobson’s Top Brass on Dec. 31 ($15,000 winner’s share, resulting in a $3,000 bonus).

In addition to Falcone, Jr., Ganbat and Jacobson, other trainers who have participated in the “Ship & Stay” program through the first 13 Winter Meet days are Bob Baffert, Richard Baltas, Mark Glatt, Anthony Saavedra, George Weaver, Peter Miller, Jack Carava, John Sadler and Matt Chew.

Owners have included: Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc., Mongolian Stable, Zayat Stables, LLC, Final Turn Stables, LLC, Red Baron’s Barn, LLC or Rancho Temescal, LLC, Zolotas or Romo-Zolotas, Diane Balsamo, Ron Crockett, Inc. and Mr. and Mrs. William T. Griffin, Bergum or Simonovic, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Bruce Golden Racing, Ackerman Equine, LLC and Medallion Racing and Sparks, Steve Bajer or John O’Hara, Ballena Vista Farm, Drawing Away Stable, Ochre House Stable, Hronis Racing, LLC, Little Red Feather or McCrocklin and Aulds, Jeong or Johnson.

For complete rules and eligibility regarding the “Ship & Stay” program, horsemen are encouraged to contact the Santa Anita Racing Office at (626) 574-6352.



Hector Palma won three races Monday to snap an oh for 13 drought through 13 days of Santa Anita’s Winter Meet. Palma, who turns 81 on July 4, won the first race with Conquest Sabre Cat ($7.80); the third with Violent Ridge ($4.20) and the ninth and final with Gone to Town ($19.40), capping a single ticket Pick Six Jackpot payoff of $466,919.40.

“I think I won three races in one day back in the 1980s, but I ran six horses that day,” Palma recalled Friday morning. “I was in charge of the horses as an assistant trainer in New York for Riley Cofer in 1963 when we won three races.

“I saddled the horses. That was the day President Kennedy was killed. I also won three races one night at Los Alamitos, but it doesn’t happen that often, because even though I have 32 horses in my barn, I’d say right now 10 are competitive.

“I thought I had a big shot to win three races Monday. The first horse had a lot of trouble the time before from the No. 14 post position. Monday we had the No. One post with one other speed horse, and I only had to follow him.

“The three-year-old maiden (Violent Ridge) was favored, and Art Sherman’s horse (runner-up Faversham) was training at Los Alamitos, and usually they need one race over this track, so I felt pretty good.

“I loved the filly in the last race going on the grass, because her father (Munnings) was a good grass horse. I couldn’t wait to try her on the turf, so I was confident I might win three, but you know anything can happen in racing.

“Maybe you don’t win any, but on this day, things came up the right way at the right time, everything went well and we won three. I don’t know the next time that might happen.”



            According to an obituary in today’s LA Times, Josephine T. Gleis, the owner/breeder of multiple graded stakes winner Fly Till Dawn and more than 30 other horses, has passed away at the age of 105.

Born in Cleveland in 1912, Mrs. Gleis moved to Los Angeles in 1924.

A longtime resident of Newport Beach, Mrs. Gleis, whose front-running grey, Fly Till Dawn, specialized in high profile turf heists that included victories in a pair of Grade I stakes at the end of his career–the 1992 San Luis Rey Stakes at a mile and one half and the 1992 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap at a mile and three quarters, was also a supporter of Hoag Hospital and other philanthropic entities.

Trained by Darrell Vienna, Fly Till Dawn, a son of Swing Till Dawn (winner of the Grade I Strub Stakes at a mile and a quarter on dirt in 1983), who was foaled in Kentucky in 1986, notched his first Grade I victory in 1990, taking Del Mar’s Eddie Read Handicap at a mile and one eighth on turf under Rafael Meza.

A winner of 10 out of his 27 starts, Fly Till Dawn earned $1,556,525.

In addition to Vienna, Ian Jory also trained for Mrs. Gleis.

According to The Times, private services will be held and the family has requested memorial donations be made to the UCI Foundation in Irvine at 850 Health Sciences Road, Irvine, CA 92697-4375.  Attention, Janice Briggs.





FINISH LINES: Apprentice jockey Laura Werner has moved her tack to Turf Paradise in Arizona. She had one win from nine mounts through 13 days at Santa Anita’s Winter Meet. “She’ll have the opportunity to ride as many horses as possible every day, but she’s not going to be there forever,” said her agent, Carolyn Conley. “She’s going there for a while, and we’ll see her back (here) again. “. . . NYRA backup announcer Frank Mirahmadi and Horseplayer Casey Irgens will be Tom Quigley‘s guest handicappers Saturday and Sunday, respectively, 11:20 a.m. in the East Paddock Gardens.


(Current Through Monday, Jan. 15)
Jockey Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Evin Roman 83 14 12 7 17% 40% $421,554
Rafael Bejarano 65 14 7 12 22% 51% $519,022
Tyler Baze 72 8 12 10 11% 42% $522,594
Kent Desormeaux 53 8 7 6 15% 40% $497,817
Drayden Van Dyke 47 8 2 4 17% 30% $510,728
Flavien Prat 58 6 10 7 10% 40% $442,563
Joseph Talamo 55 6 7 4 11% 31% $336,002
Tiago Pereira 44 6 4 1 14% 25% $167,890
Mike Smith 31 5 5 5 16% 48% $705,938
Corey Nakatani 21 4 5 0 19% 43% $253,350
Mario Gutierrez 35 4 2 5 11% 31% $294,186
Trainer Mts 1st 2nd 3rd Win% ITM% Money Won
Peter Miller 40 8 9 6 20% 58% $362,120
Vladimir Cerin 21 6 7 0 29% 62% $161,595
Bob Baffert 26 6 2 2 23% 38% $345,063
Mark Glatt 27 5 6 2 19% 48% $232,585
Jerry Hollendorfer 34 5 4 4 15% 38% $357,406
Philip D’Amato 37 5 3 6 14% 38% $345,655
Richard Baltas 44 4 7 7 9% 41% $356,420
Michael McCarthy 13 4 1 1 31% 46% $267,645
William E. Morey 9 4 0 2 44% 67% $85,923